Pelham City Council has taken an incremental step to address the soil erosion problem in the headwaters of Twelve Mile Creek, focusing on the culvert and stormwater management pond on Highway 20 in Rice Road.
With funding of $70,000 from the City, the Niagara Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada will take responsibility for providing a solution, working with engineers from Cambridge-based Waters Edge Environmental Solutions. Monitoring will be carried out by a working group made up of local actors.
The primary mission of the Niagara Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada is to restore and preserve cold water habitat in the Niagara Region, with an emphasis on Twelve Mile Creek, the region’s only watershed with a existing brook trout population. Twelve Mile Creek stretches from its headwaters near Fonthill through Short Hills Provincial Park and empties into Lake Ontario at Port Dalhousie. Since its inception in 2012, the chapter has developed environmental partnerships with regional agencies and landowners, and carried out shoreline restoration and mapping.
Trout Unlimited board member Brian Green, who along with chairman Denis Edell made a presentation to the board last week, told The Voice that the Rice Road stormwater management pond and the Highway 20 is one of two branches from the source of Twelve Mile Creek (the other begins at Marlene Stewart Streit Park).
“Having a stormwater pond as a source is not ideal because the pond heats up the water,” Green said. “We noticed a huge amount of erosion coming out of this pond under and through the culvert under Highway 20. Landowners downstream alerted us that they were getting sediment that was accumulating so deep that the creek meandered into new channels and causing enormous damage. That’s literally tons of sediment washed downstream, and it’s not good for aquatic life.
Pelham councilor Lisa Haun voted in favor of the $70,000 allocation (council voted unanimously to approve) despite concerns over taxpayer money being used to repair erosion soils on private land and a stormwater pond that falls under the jurisdiction of the region. She told the board that she would not support additional financial support for the project.
Pelham adviser Wayne Olson said it was the right way to go.
“I’m not sure $70,000 will do the trick, but I’m pretty confident that Trout Unlimited has enough support from industry and organizations like the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority to complete the project,” Olson said. “The Pelham Cares building has lost a bridge, and it will probably lose another, due to erosion. I believe there is a plan for volunteers from EL Crossley to rebuild the bridge, and this is just one of the beautification projects. A memorial park and some trees go there, and the Lions Club is going to set up a nature trail.
The Pelham Cares building has lost a bridge, and it’s likely to lose another, due to erosion
Green said when Trout Unlimited alerted Pelham council and staff to the issue, they agreed something needed to be done. Early responses to an RFP (request for proposal) suggested that to complete the work, an expense well over $200,000 would be required.
“We contacted Water’s Edge, who came to look at the extent of the erosion damage,” Green said. “We asked if they could provide a design that would solve the problem, and they said they could handle it for less than $70,000, which would get us around all the various supply issues.”
Trout Unlimited is a registered charity, Green said, which has developed positive partnerships with industries and businesses.
“Our thinking is that once we have a design and an estimate, and an idea of the scope of the work, we can find a way to do it, without assigning blame or going down the liability route. That we Whether we can do that or not, I don’t know. But at least we now have permission from the city to spend their money on a design.
Green was candid about his response to Haun during the proposal to the Council.
“Councillor Haun raised a very good question, asking if we will come back to council for more money when we get to the construction phase. My response was that I cannot guarantee that we will not. She supported the motion, but said she would not vote for increased funding. Fair enough. We will do our best not to come back to them.
Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin was pleased that council had backed the funding and stressed the intention was to find iflutions, not affix blame.
“We appreciate Trout Unlimited’s involvement in conducting this study. The goal going forward is strictly to fix the problem, not to criticize a storm pool that some people might consider a bad design. We’re not really concerned with that. We just want it fixed.